Number of Flights Operated by Asia Pacific Airlines Down 93%

The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines
(AAPA) has called on governments in the region to relax slot
constraints, curfews on operating hours, and expedite approvals
exempting crew from quarantine requirements.

Worldwide demand for air travel has collapsed
following COVID19-related border closures, shutdowns, lockdowns
and other travel restrictions. The number of flights operated by
Asia Pacific airlines in the first week of April declined by 93%
compared to normal levels of traffic established at the beginning
of the year.

Several Asia Pacific carriers have been
mounting flights on an ad-hoc basis, to meet the demand for
repatriation flights for stranded passengers to return to their
home countries. Such flights often involve working with
governments and national regulatory authorities to obtain the
necessary clearances given the many restrictions currently imposed
on international travel.

Cathay Pacific Airbus A350 at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand. Picture by Steven Howard of Click to enlarge.

Worldwide demand for air cargo declined by 19% in
March 2020 compared to the same month last year but is holding up
relatively well despite economic disruption in many economies. Goods being shipped by air cargo include
significant volumes of pharmaceuticals, medical protective
equipment, and food supplies.

Airlines have increased the number of
services operated by dedicated freighter aircraft to partially
compensate for the loss of bellyhold capacity resulting from the
drastic cutbacks in passenger services. A number of Asian airlines
have also been operating additional air cargo services using
passenger aircraft adapted to carry cargo both in the bellyhold as
well as in the cabin in the absence of passengers.

 “The current crisis is taking an enormous
toll on Asian economies and people’s livelihoods across the
region. Some 50 million people work in travel and tourism alone
within the Asia Pacific region. We recognise and applaud the
efforts being made by many governments to offer financial
assistance and support to the aviation industry as well as the
wider travel and tourism sector,” said AAPA Director General, Mr.
Subhas Menon. “The Asia Pacific aviation community is strongly
committed to continuing to work closely with governments, public
health authorities, and other international bodies to both respond
to current challenges, and at the same time begin to make plans
for recovery. Aviation has always been a key driver of economic
and social development, nowhere more so than in the Asia Pacific
region, and will play an important role in the overall recovery

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